S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus (Marvel): Marvel is proud to present — in a single complete volume — one of comics’ most-innovative series! With international threats on the rise, Tony Stark and a council of global powers tapped Nick Fury to protect the US from Hydra, A.I.M., Baron Strucker, and the Yellow Claw. The greatest team in comics, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, dove into the world of covert ops, mixing Cold War drama with the mighty Marvel manner. They set the tone, but when Steranko took over, he rewrote the entire rulebook. Steranko turned S.H.I.E.L.D. into one of the most visually innovative comic series ever published and every early story is presented in oversized glory. You’ve been granted Priority A-1 access, so reserve your copy today! Collecting the Nick Fury stories from Strange Tales (1951) #135-168, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (1968) #1-15, Fantastic Four (1961) #21, Tales of Suspense (1959) #78, Avengers (1963) #72, Marvel Spotlight (1971) #31 (which reveals an important Nick Fury secret!), and material from Not Brand Echh (1967) #3, 8, and 11. Features work by Lee, Kirby, Steranko, Roy Thomas, Denny O’Neil, Archie Goodwin, Jim Starlin, Howard Chaykin, John Severin, Herb Trimpe, Don Heck, Barry Windsor-Smith, Sal Buscema, Joe Sinnott, and more. 960-page oversize color hardcover. – Released in September 2015, in two versions, one with an Alex Ross cover and one with a Steranko cover. I like Alex Ross, but his cover for this book is underwhelming, clearly the Steranko cover is the one to get.
And you’ll pay for it, as quantities on the Steranko version are climbing in price. But well worth the seeking out.
‘When you strip everything away from Batman, you are left with someone who doesn’t want to see anyone die.’ — KINGDOM COME by Alex Ross and Mark Waid
When I think of humanity in general, and the holiday season in particular it strikes me that that should be our goal. The pursuit of a world, where nobody dies in vain.
But the reality, particularly in America, this time of year is that with the eyes of the media diverted; government sponsored mass-murders actually ramp up, bombings ramp up (now of the drone and unmanned variety, machines murdering men.. what an unholy road we walk), the terrorism of the rich… ramps up.
I’ll not forget the media celebrating the death of Bin Laden. Death and Murder and Torture are never things to celebrate, no matter the justification.
While I am savage enough to know that killing may be a necessary evil, I am human and moral enough to know it is never a joy, never a victory, never a cause for celebration.
Be the murdered Bin Laden, or Hitler or insert bogieman here, bringing murder to murderers is never anything less than a soiling, and a failure, necessary though it may be, it is a failure of reason. And as such is a solemn time, not a glorious one.
Because to do otherwise, to take joy from death, and celebration from degradation and horror… is to devoid you of moral high-ground, is to make you (in ways stark and true) worse than those you would revile, worse than your Hitlers and Bin-Ladens. It makes you a lynchmob, a coward, and an opportunist of carnage.
We must strive to be better than that, otherwise your protestations of Christianity, and Holy Nights, and piety are just lies, are hypocrisy and mendacity most foul, that you use to conceal your roman desire to see people bleed and suffer and die.
You become that lowest form of life, a gibbering coward among cowards, you become nothing more than a grasping claw, a rolling eye, and a screeching mouth… in the creature we call lynchmob. And there is no lower, and ultimately, more inhuman form of life.
Our goal therefore must be to reject that, to reject the easy lies and the easy hates, and work toward this wildly improbable world where no one dies in vain.
But humanity’s very existence is an improbability, so we can bend that already fanciful existence to either improbable heights of good, or improbable depths of evil. We just have to pick a direction.
‘We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. ‘ — John Fitzgerald Kennedy when imploring men into space
Here, on this holiday season, more fiction than fact, ‘goodwill to all’; look into yourself and find what is hypocrisy, what is lies, and find it in yourself to make truths, and truly believe and act on this idea…. of a time of peace.
Here endeth the lesson.
The only reason I started rereading comics or graphic novels or slims, is because of Alex Ross. I had turned my back on the medium, just tired of the juvenile art, the storytelling style, everything. Then Alex Ross exploded onto the scene with the one-two punch of the graphic novels MARVELS then KINGDOM COME.
Self contained, stand alone, complete stories, told with jaw droppingly astonishing painted art. People immediately began calling him the Norman Rockwell of comics, and that term is not quite undeserved.
Like Norman Rockwell, Alex Ross is able to imbue his scenes with a sense of homey Americana, that calls back a yearning to better, simpler days now passed… or perhaps never existed.
But he does more than imbue scenes with nostalgia, he does something Rockwell never did, perhaps never dreamt of doing, Alex Ross imbues his scenes with a sense of awe, of scale, of grandeur.
It has become habit these days for people without a fraction of Ross’ talent or vision to take his work for granted. To call his effort: extremism, and to call his meticulous paints: stiff, over rendering… I see nothing stiff or over-rendered in the work of Alex Ross but people are allowed their opinion, though the criticism always struck me as uninformed opinion.
It always struck me as the voices of jealous ants trying to deride an elephant. People disparaging Alex Ross, simply because he was that good.
Alex Ross is a meticulous perfectionist, who paints worlds that never were, but should be, and populates them with the stuff of faith…rewarded. Long before Hollywood made a habit of making our marvels real, Ross reached out to the lightning, and called down the thunder, and put it on paper, and gave us all a vision… to aspire to.
Many a painter has come on the sequential art scene since Ross’ mainstream debut, and they all bring something wonderful to the mix. But it’s a testament to Alex Ross’ skill, his understanding and his love for the heroic… that none of the numerous painters now in the medium, quite grasp that sense of grandeur that Ross brings to even the least of his creations.
All his creations look out at you with eyes that have seen the worst, yet still seem to say… “endure, be better.”
And end of the day, I figure… that’s not such a bad message for an artist and his art to leave us with. So for all these reasons Alex Ross is our Artist of the Day.
Check out all his work at the links below:
Great, Awful and Inexplicable Comic Book Covers of the Day!
Great, Awful and Inexplicable Comic Book Covers of the Day!
Let’s start with the great which there aren’t too many of in the last 30 days. In fact there is only one:
Dynamite’s BIONIC MAN. A great Alex Ross cover. Plus while I’m no fan of DYNAMITE ($3.99 is too much to charge for a comic) I think they are getting shafted in this lawsuit. What lawsuit?
Dynamite is being sued for selling John Carter comics. Yeah, yeah I know officially it says ERB, the Burrough’s estate, is suing Dynamite, but the timing begs to differ. This has Disney’s fat fingers all over it. Those books have been out for nearly a year, odd that ERB would only get a hair up their nose once Disney’s movie was hitting theaters.
I don’t believe in coincidence. Not when greed and money are in the air. Smells like a big company leaned over to ERB and said sue em… we got your back. 🙂
Here’s the thing companies like Disney are trying to gut the concept of public domain. Sure Dynamite didn’t pay the Burroughs Estate to use John Carter. Here’s the thing… they shouldn’t have to. John Carter is public effing domain. The fifty years is ended (now extended to 75, utter bs) that means anyone and everyone should be able to produce John Carter of Mars books or comics or movies.
This doesn’t stop the heirs from producing their version and continuing to leech off their ancestor’s creativity. But neither should it stop Dynamite from producing their version. And may the best version get the readers. That’s free enterprise.
But nooooooo, companies like effing Disney, that owns ABC and everything else under the frigging sun just make up the laws as they go. Whatever happened to monopoly laws?… huh President? huh Congress? huh Supreme Court? Damn sell-outs!
Disney should have been put on the rack and broken into an effing million pieces years ago. But it’s never too late for a good idea. 🙂 .God I hate that company, I’ve hated it since I was a little kid, they are everything that is wrong with this country. Greed First. Uber Alles.
(ohhhh, I remember the first time my parents took me to Disney World and I saw that damn Mouse! All the other blind simpering sheep were cooing over the fat Rat. Not me!! Seven Years old I grabbed a brick and went after him! “Run B*tch! Run!!” You should have seen that rat run—- Ahh, Good times , Good times! :).)
So these companies are using bogus trademark to undermine copyright laws. It’s utter bs, and if allowed to stand it will just rob us of any shared cultural history that we do not have to pay a corporate entity to use or even mention. It is utter garbage. I hope Marvel/Disney chokes on their greed and dies. Goddamn Disney! I’ve always hated that Mouse!… Okay, I’m calm now.
Under the heading awful:
Any comic book that has AVENGERS or X-MEN on the cover. I have never burnt a book in my life, but seeing the glut of AVENGERS and X-MEN titles, I can see the appeal of a bonfire. And no doubt it’s some of my Disney hate still filtering down.
I’m working on it.
Most racist company on the friggin planet… and it makes children’s entertainment. Please, spare me. Anytime people mention Disney to me I want to hurt em.
“But didn’t you like BAMBI?” Hell no! Waste good Venison? What are you… stark raving mad?!!
Now I’m calm. 🙂 .
Under the heading of Inexplicable is the following:
What the heck is going on in this cover? And what ever it is, the person on the cover seems a bit young looking to be in that pose. Maybe it’s just me.
Well that’s all for this installment of GREAT, AWFUL and INEXPLICABLE. Yall come back now ya here?! Except the mouse lovers…. I still got the brick!!! :).
I received THE ABSOLUTE JUSTICE oversized HC book in the mail today. Listed in my posting of 100 Greatest Graphic Novels, my thoughts upon finally viewing it were odd, and perhaps not quite human. I wondered… If in 1000 years either God or Man would make something as fine as this?
Hyperbole to be sure. But hyperbole spawned from a very impressive product.
More to come.